The sports world has been left reeling after serious allegations of from the wife of one of the best hockey players in the world, Erik Karlsson, were released.
Melinda Karlsson, who is married to Erik, captain of the Ottawa Senators in the NHL, went to court to gain an order of protection against Monika Caryk, the fiancée of fellow Senators player Mike Hoffman. She claims that Caryk has been cyber-bullying her family for months.
In November of 2017, the Karlssons announced they were expecting their first child together. It was great news for the new family, and everyone seemed happy for them.
Around the same time, the Ottawa Senators fell into a tailspin of a season. They dropped to second last in the league, and no one could figure out why. There were rumors about off-ice issues among the team, but nothing was ever brought up officially.
As the season went on, there were even more rumors about potentially trading Mike Hoffman, the team's best forward, and Erik Karlsson, the league's best defenceman. It didn't make sense to anyone involved. How could a team that's losing think getting rid of their best players was the answer?
In March of 2018, fans were stunned and saddened to hear that Erik and Melinda's child was stillborn.
It was an emotional and trying time for the Karlssons, but they were lucky to receive an outburst of support from everyone in the hockey community.
Well, almost everyone.
One comment, written by "sandydandy45," was so vile that Erik felt he had to reply.
"I feel bad for the baby, he didn't have a fighting chance with Melinda popping pain killer medication everyday," the follower wrote.
"How dare you. You have been making fake accounts and buying hacked ones for months to harass me and my wife but this is an all new low even for you. You are a disgusting person," he replied.
Little did we know, this was just the tip of the iceberg.
Trade speculation ran wild this past week, with many insiders saying they "heard rumors about Hoffman issues and if they're true, they are horrible." No one knew what this meant, but a report from the Ottawa Citizen newspaper changed the game.
Police and crime reporter Shaamini Yoagretnam broke the stunning news that Melinda Karlsson had filed for an order of protection against Caryk, due to a "campaign of harassment," starting in November of 2017 (right around when the Karlssons announced their pregnancy.)
"Monika Caryk has uttered numerous statements wishing my unborn child dead," says Melinda Karlsson's sworn statement to the court. "She also uttered that she wished I was dead and that someone should "˜take out' my husband's legs to "˜end his career.' Monika Caryk has posted over 1,000 negative and derogatory statements about me as a professional."
The paper also uncovered that there is an active police investigation into the criminal harassment (stalking) claims laid out by Mrs. Karlsson.
The implication is that Caryk was behind the horrific comments made on Erik Karlsson's Instagram post about the death of their son.
Though Monika Caryk has not yet spoken about the accusations, Mike Hoffman released a statement pleading their innocence.
There is a 150 per cent chance that my fiancée Monika and I are not involved in any of the accusations that have been pursued [that are] coming our way. We totally understand that there's no place for cyberbullying.
We've offered to cooperate and do anything it takes to find out who is doing this and support [the Karlsson's]. Obviously this is a tough time that they're going through, and we want to find out who is doing this, because for some reason it's coming into our court, and it's 150 per cent that it's not us.
We have nothing to hide. We're willing to cooperate in any way to solve this and figure it out, and prove that it wasn't us.
Hoffman and Caryk have been together since high school, and she's gone through the ranks with him as he made it as a superstar in the NHL.
The director of Mike Hoffman's agency, Mike Liut, also released a statement, saying that this situation has been going on for a while.
We've been aware of this situation for months. This happened at the end of the year. We've been very clear with the club. I've talked to the players' association about it. We've been very up front about Mike's support of Monika and denial of what's going on. He told that to Erik face-to-face at the end of the season.
Mike has made himself available to get to the bottom of it. Cyber-bullying in our society is not good. It's bad. This is epidemic. That's certainly not something Mike and Monika is going to engage in. It's been very perplexing for them.
They've been very supportive of the Karlssons, and what has gone on, notwithstanding the accusation, and are really mystified as to how this is landing on Monika. Mike is not involved. He's supporting Monika, and they've done some research. They clearly want to find out who this is.
As for Erik Karlsson himself, he allegedly confronted Mike Hoffman face-to-face in the parking lot, believing Hoffman's fiancée was behind all this. Clearly, that solved nothing.
Though all of these accusations are yet to be proven, it seems as though none of the other wives and girlfriends on the team are shocked by the news of Caryk's alleged attacks.
Julie Turris, wife of Nashville Predators (and former Ottawa Senators) player Kyle Turris, commented about the story on Twitter.
"This crossed the line from cyber bullying to something entirely different in April," Turris wrote. "Unfortunate that this private matter has become public. Incredibly proud of [Melinda Karlsson] for standing up for herself and her family, it took courage."
"Oh man, if you only knew how unsurprising this actually is," wrote Marlee Hammond, wife of former Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond. "Horrible just horrible. And the worst part of this is how [Melinda] just wanted to keep this private because she's THAT nice of a person even when a person can be this cruel to her."
Kodette LaBarbera, who was never part of the Senators organization but is close friends with a lot of the wives and girlfriends, also spoke out about the issue.
"[Monika's] fixation with Mel has always been unhealthy," she wrote. "Then it became scary. So glad Mel is protecting herself. No team will welcome this girl to the room."
Fan and Team Reaction
The Ottawa Senators released a statement about the situation:
"We are investigating this matter in cooperation with the NHL and will take whatever steps are necessary to protect the safety and privacy of our players and their families."
As for fans, well...they're not taking it well.
You have to be a special kind of evil to be happy when someone has a stillborn child. It blows my mind— Trevor Shackles (@ShackTS) June 12, 2018
So Karlsson not only had to play hockey with a personal tragedy on his mind but also with a teammate who was causing him unthinkable grief and anger. And we were none the wiser.— goran (@senssensei) June 12, 2018
I have too many thoughts on this for one tweet. But I will say this: I hope Melinda and Erik know how loved and supported they are within this community and beyond. This kind of targeted harassment is disgusting, and they deserve so much better than how the team has handled it. https://t.co/UMjnFQaidm— Michaela Schreiter (@Schreids) June 13, 2018
It's baffling to me that all the reporting on the Hoffman-Karlsson stuff doesn't start with "Hoffman's EX-fiancée."— Terra (@Puckstar_) June 13, 2018
How do you marry someone so vile?
The Erik Karlsson and Mike Hoffman story has to be one of the craziest things I've ever heard— Tom Greene (@TomGreene_92) June 13, 2018
In this whole Karlsson/Hoffman thing, both sides went ALL IN, one professing total innocence, one saying they know the other did it.— Colin Dunlap (@colin_dunlap) June 13, 2018
Someone is going to look good, the other ruined for life. No middle ground.
#monikacaryk..you are one disturbed human if you are behind this and you need serious help— Erinn R (@sensgirl11) June 13, 2018
i want mike hoffman and monika caryk out of ottawa and away from melinda and erik immediately.— michelle (@morbidmichelle) June 12, 2018